Brooke-k                    DEUTSCH

Phil Brooke

Animal welfare and our
relationship with animals

Animal welfare is about what matters to a sentient animal. Welfare is a consequence of the animal’s natural motivations, experiences and of how their interactions with their environment make them feel. Welfare can be measured as a product of the intensity of suffering, its duration and the numbers of animals affected. Humans have a massive impact on animal welfare, especially through their use of animals for food. Ethical principles that determine how we treat our fellow humans should logically also apply to how we treat non-human animals. I believe we should “do as we would be done by.” Since I would not wish to be used for food, I don’t consume animal products.
As a society, the key purpose is to improve animal welfare, whatever our individual philosophical positions. Where animals are used, we should take steps to minimise suffering and to ensure that they experience a good life.

What about plants? Pleasure and pain have evolved in animals as a means for influencing behaviour and in turn to enable our non-sentient but “selfish” genes to survive and replicate. I don’t see any likely mechanism in plants. If we want to reduce our impact on plants we should reduce consumption of meat, milk and eggs from herbivore animals, as well as cotton, wood, etc. and try to replace plant food and textiles by synthetic alternatives. More…